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by Mila Beliso

I cried for my mom and for L.A
the first monsoon I ever drove through
when I moved to a sleepy town
near the Arizona border.

I watched storm clouds hurry
into masses above me,
light flickered from their insides
and rain fell over the desert
like an old friend, reaching out during some
disastrous social situation,
like being caught dead at the Venice Beach drum circle.

I felt the breaths and the fur
of these glittering white bats,
the fleeting graze of their leather wings
on my earlobes in the dry cold
and I tasted this spectacular blueberry coffee downtown.
But it was nothing like, you know,
the real Downtown.

I found sanctuary in tattoo artists and
high roller Vegas types
to remind me about where I came from,
to drive my car when I was frightened
by the looming calm
of that smell before storms.

I moved back to L.A
before monsoon season ended,
but I still remember what bats feel like,
what the desert looks like
drenched in rain.

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